Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) to introduce new legislation on Tuesday that would block and prohibit all transactions from TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, within the U.S. The filing comes amid negotiations between TikTok and the Biden administration to protect the data of American users on the app over national security concerns.
“TikTok is digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans, collecting troves of their data and censoring their news. It’s also an increasingly powerful media company that’s owned by ByteDance, which ultimately reports to the Chinese Communist Party — America’s foremost adversary,” said Gallagher in a press statement. “Allowing the app to continue to operate in the U.S. would be like allowing the U.S.S.R. to buy up the New York Times, Washington Post, and major broadcast networks during the Cold War. No country with even a passing interest in its security would allow this to happen, which is why it’s time to ban TikTok and any other CCP-controlled app before it’s too late.”
“This isn’t about creative videos — this is about an app that is collecting data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day. We know it’s used to manipulate feeds and influence elections,” Rubio said.
The two Republican lawmakers had alluded to such a bill in November when they published a Washington Post op-ed arguing that Congress needs to do something about TikTok.
“It is troubling that rather than encouraging the Administration to conclude its national security review of TikTok, some members of Congress have decided to push for a politically-motivated ban that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States,” a TikTok spokesperson told the Washington Examiner. “TikTok is loved by millions of Americans who use the platform to learn, grow their businesses, and connect with creative content that brings them joy. We will continue to brief members of Congress on the plans that have been developed under the oversight of our country’s top national security agencies—plans that we are well underway in implementing—to further secure our platform in the United States.”
While ByteDance has repeatedly stated that it has not shared U.S. user data with officials from the Chinese Communist Party, experts allege that the CCP could force the company to provide such data through its national security law.
TikTok had reportedly reached a deal with the Biden administration to protect user data in September but has not seen any progression toward announcing such an agreement since. State leaders have stepped up in the meantime to implement bans on installing the app onto government devices.